Today hundreds of Universal Studios Hollywood volunteers banded together for the 13th annual “Day of Giving” community outreach event.
The inspirational “Day of Giving” event is a tradition designed to connect Universal Studios employees with diverse community organizations, many of which are beneficiaries of the Discover A Star Foundation. This organization’s mission is to empower individuals and families to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.
Early this morning, 280 children arrived in buses and vans with 109 chaperones. They were warmly greeted at the entrance of Universal Studios Hollywood by employees and Operation School Bell volunteers. After checking in, each child received a brand new backpack with new school supplies.
Next they sat next to Los Angeles Police Community Service Officers and were fitted with a pair of brand new shoes. “For some of these children, this is the first time they have ever received new shoes,” said Adrienne Seltzer from the Assistance League Los Angeles Operation School Bell.
Wearing new shoes, the children walked up the steps into the pop-up 48-foot big-rig Operation School Bell on Wheels “traveling closet” filled with brand new clothing (2 uniform polo shirts and bottoms, one play outfit) and dressing rooms. Caring volunteers worked one-on-one with each child to ensure the clothing fit well.
Back down the steps, the children receive a jacket/hoodie before meeting Austin Jallo to pick a brand new book to keep.
After putting their book in their backpack, children met Karie Delarme and Julie Munoz to recieve a bright blue “My Stuff” bag. It was filled with a stuffed animal, Fidget Spinner, blanket, 5 pairs socks and underwear, a grooming kit and a craft kit.
Adrienne Seltzer takes Operation School Bell on Wheels to multiple schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District twice during the school year. More than 250 children in need receive clothing and suppies on each visit. LAPD Sergeant Luis Alvarado and his team accompany Seltzer on the visits. “It’s nice for kids to see police officers in another light,” said Seltzer. “They also are there to assure everyone stays safe.”
Volunteers from Assistance League Los Angeles and Operation School Bell raise approximately $400,000 per year with A Spring Affaire at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills and from in-kind community and corporate foundations.
Talking to Danielle Prado Community Relations Manager at Universal Studios, she told me that after recieving all of these gifts, Universal Studio volunteers gathered small groups of kids with their chaperones for a day of Universal Studios fun. They visited “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” meet Minions, and ride “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.” A catered lunch was provided inside the Globe Theatre. Guests played at the “Super Silly Fun Land” play zone, and took a world-famous Studio Tour to experience the “Fast & Furious – Supercharged” thrill ride.
“This is one of five Universal Day of Giving events,” said Prado. “We support several other non-profit organizations across Los Angeles including AIDS Project L.A. (APLA), Downtown Women’s Center, Tree People, Union Station Homeless Services and Shane’s Inspiration.
The holidays will be brighter for these children receiving gifts from caring heroes.